Where Are Our Strengths?

Blue to play 5-4






TAMI: We have been given a nice number to get our blot to safety and I vote we take it and run with 22/13.

KIT: Let's examine our advantages and disadvantages. We have the stronger inner board and the stronger blockade. On the negative side, White has an advanced anchor while our anchor is on his ace-point. What is likely to happen if we play the passive 22/13, which doesn't attempt to do something to rectify this situation?

TAMI: White is going to try his best to make a couple more points in front of our two back men. Then we are going to be trapped as he strolls the rest of his men around the board at his leisure.

KIT: That certainly could happen and we should be doing something about it. 22/18 13/8 goes after an advanced anchor of our own. If we succeed in getting that advanced anchor, we will have a clear advantage in the priming battle. This play prevents White from bringing down more builders, and forces him to deal with our annoying blot on his bar-point.

TAMI: Yes, but White already has three builders aimed at the bar-point and we are at real risk to end up on the bar with a point on top of our little heads. Don't we still have plenty of time to get those back men moving after we have safetied our blot?

KIT: White has only a few numbers which point on us on his bar-point, and most of these cost him his midpoint and leave a shot there. If White hits loose on the bar-point we will have plenty of return shots from the bar. If he doesn't touch us, we will have the opportunity to make the desired advanced anchor. Stopping on his bar-point also has the advantage of putting pressure on the checkers on his 10-point, so he can't use rolls such as 5-3 or 6-4 to full advantage. It is a productive play with little downside. 22/13 isolates our back checkers from the rest of our army.

TAMI: Ok, so the "safe" play of 22/13 leaves us in a much less safe position. The active play of 22/18 13/8 takes control of board by taking the battle to White before he is ready to fight. By taking risks now, when the cost is relatively small and we have a lot of flexibility, we are safeguarding against having to take risks later when we don't have as much control or flexibility and the costs are much larger.

CORRECT MOVE: 22/18 13/8